north easterChina Slowly Adopts Tobacco-free Laws holds neither liability nor responsibility for materials attributed to any other source. Such information is provided as reportage and dissemination of information but does not necessarily reflect the opinion of or endorsement by CRI.

But implementation has been slow as the government placed the work group overseeing the treatys implementation into the hands of people with close ties to the tobacco industry, China CDCs deputy director, Yang Gonghuan and other health experts have said.

Yang Jie, a tobacco control officer with China CDC, says the watering down of the regulation reflects the tremendous challenges tobacco control efforts ce in China.

Jiang Guohong, director of Institute for Non-Communicable Disease Control under Tianjin CDC, says that compared to the existing local tobacco-control regulations of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, Tianjins draft specifies that owners of venues catering to the public are primarily responsible for any violation.

Besides Harbin, indoor smoking bans in the cities of Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanchang, Shenzhen and Shenyang are being discussed by the local legislatures.

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In January, a report entitled Tobacco Control and Chinas Future lamented the countrys slow progress in tobacco control and lambasted the tobacco industrys interference for delaying efforts to meet the governments smoking reduction commitments.

China ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003, pledging to effectively curb tobacco use, including smoke-free legislation, placing large and clear warnings on the harmful effects of tobacco on cigarette packs, as well as total bans on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

The report, as a joint assessment by a group of Chinese and foreign health experts and economists, also disclosed that about 1.2 million Chinese die each year from tobacco-related illnesses and an estimated 3.5 million Chinese will die each year from tobacco-related illnesses by 2030.

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Since 2011, Chinese government, legislators and NGOs have largely had positive reactions to tobacco control, Yang Gonghuan says.

However, health experts argue that a partial ban on smoking indoors does not provide enough protection to non-smokers.

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Lawmakers who oppose the law say that while it met the WHOs recommendations, it was too tough and difficult to enforce in China.

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A revised regulation on health management in public places issued by the Ministry of Health in March has banned smoking in enclosed public locations since May 1.

The northeastern city of Harbin has banned indoor smoking in public areas just before World No Tobacco Day, which lls on Tuesday, but health experts say enacting and enforcing laws in China that are consistent with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations is not easy.

north easterChina Slowly Adopts Tobacco-free Laws,The Regulations on the Control of Harm Posed by Second-hand Smoke, endorsed bnorth easterChina Slowly Adopts Tobacco-free Lawsy the legislature of Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, last Thursday, defines all public indoor areas as public places, and outlines penalties for smokers who light up in such places.

China has more than 300 million smokers, most of whom are males. About 740 million people, including 180 million children and teenagers, were exposed to second-hand smoke in 2010, according to a report recently published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC).

Restaurants, schools and hospitals ce penalties if people smoke on their premises, according to the regulations. Fines can range from 2,000 to 30,000 yuan (about 308 to 4,626 U.S. dollars). Also, businesses can be forced to close temporarily if they break the new law.

In February, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) ordered film and TV studios to restrict smoking scenes and to ban shots showing tobacco brands or minors in scenes while others are smoking.

Its a big decision. Chinas pace to curb anti-smoking has been rather slow, so the decision was not easy, says Yue Bingfei, a member with the National Committee of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and a research fellow with the National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products.

Moreover, Smoking Snapshot, a campaign that aims to ridicule smoking in hospitals and public health institutions, began on Thursday.

Initiated by the China CDC and the division of Health Promotion and Education with the MOH, the official campaign encourages netizens to upload photos of people smoking in hospitals and health institutions onto the microblog

China promised to ban smoking in public places in an all-around manner in March this year in its 12th Five-Year Plan — the first time that the country has included an anti-smoking measure in its five-year plan.

In Tianjin, a port city bordering Beijing, the deputy mayor has signed a commitment on Promoting A Smoke-free Environment project, creating strict legislation to guarantee 100-percent smoke-free public venues and workplaces and figure out a feasible and forceful working mechanism to enforce the smoking ban from 2009 to 2011.

Wang Zhongmin, an official with Harbins Office of Legislative Afirs, says the law is not designed to deprive people of their right to smoke but protect non-smokers from being harmed from inhaling second-hand smoke.

In Nanchang, capital city of eastern Jiangxi Province, the Draft Regulation on the Control of Harm Posed by Second-hand Smoke has been shelved after a second reading by Nanchang Municipal Peoples Congress last December, because the toughest draft completely banned smoking in many public places, including government offices, restaurants, bars, and other entertainment venuesnorth eastern health.

But for a country where lighting a cigarette in public is common, the passing of tobacco-free legislation is no straight-forward process.

Government policy is one thing, but not the only important part of tobacco control initiatives. Raising public awareness remains the key to succeed in tobacco control, Yang Gonghuan said.

Mao Qunan, director with the Health Promotion and Education Department says the microblog campaign aims to urge the public to join in tobacco control efforts. claims the copyright of all material and information produced originally by our staff. All rights reserved. Reproduction of text for non-commercial purposes only is permitted provided that both the source and author are acknowledged and a notifying is sent to us.

According to the 2011 China Tobacco Control Report published by China CDC, more than 100 suggestions and proposals on tobacco-control were submitted by NPC representatives and CPPCC members during Chinas annual two sessions.

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